Challenge against denial of sanction to prosecute Yogi Adityanath in 2007 alleged “hate speech” case: SC reserves verdict

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The petition has been filed by Parwez Parvaz against a 2018 order of Allahabad High Court, which rejected plea challenging denial of sanction by Uttar Pradesh Government to prosecute the State’s Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana today reserved judgment in a case challenging the denial of sanction to prosecute Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for a case of alleged hate speech.

It is alleged that in 2007, Yogi Adityanath, then a BJP parliamentarian gave a speech which led to violence in parts of Gorakhpur.

The police registered a case in 2008 and the same was investigated by the CID of the UP police in 2008. The CID completed investigation in 2015, and had sought sanction for prosecution. The government however refused to grant a sanction to prosecute, on the ground that the draft investigation report filed by the police’s CB-CID showed there was insufficient evidence to initiate a trial against Adityanath. The government observed that video evidence submitted by the complainant against Adityanath and four others, which was sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in October 2014 was tampered with.

The decision of UP government not granting sanction was challenged before Allahabad High Court by Parvez Parwaz. The petition, also sought for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the event. Asad Hyat, who claimed to be a witness in the case, was also one of the petitioners. In the High Court, the advocate general had raised doubts on the petition and had argued that the investigation was over. 

In February 2018, the Allahabad High Court rejected the plea seeking action against Yogi Adityanath and eight accused in the case. Following the court's verdict, Parvez Parwaz approached the Supreme Court.Rejecting the plea, the High Court had stated that they did not find any procedural error in the conduct of the investigation.

Later in 2018, Supreme Court issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government against the order of Allahabad High Court. The petitioner challenged the judgment on the ground as to whether the State can pass an order under Section 196 Cr.P.C. in respect of a proposed accused in a criminal case who in the meantime gets elected as the Chief Minister and is the Executive Head as per the scheme provided under Article 163. 

Counsel for the petitioner had argued that the investigation agency had clearly indicated that the crime branch had found offences under Section 143, 153, 153A, 295A and 505 of IPC. It was argued that the statements made by Yogi Adityanath were in the public domain and  the Chief Minister had himself admitted during a televised interview that he delivered the alleged speech, which amounts to extra-judicial confession. 

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the State and submitted that a CD which was given for investigation in 2008 was broken and the subsequent one which was given after five years, was found to be tampered. He submitted that the Law Department took a decision based on these facts and the same was accepted by the Home Department.

The bench, on hearing the submissions reserved the plea for judgment. 

Case Title: Parwez Parvaz & Anr. Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh

Case title: Parvez Parwaz Vs State of Uttar Pradesh